I've been playing games from the Saints Row series. I am a firm believer in the fact that books, movies, television and games are a great way to and that they are make believe. That means that you can peruse them with the only risk being emotional.
They are most certainly a powerful medium and most parents' efforts should be directed towards getting their children ready for when they can make their own judgements about what is right and wrong, and learning to accept the responsibility for their bad choices but teaching them to feel confident enough to make the right ones. The ones that they wont regret years down the road and decisions that they make of their own accord (ie not as a result of peer pressure or their impressions gained by outside influences that contradict their own notion of good and bad and everything in between).
I don't have any children, which means I am free to peruse whatever I like in terms of entertainment (I usually like very good stories, drama and action in my movies though I like story driven movies as well). Some movies and games that I peruse have violence in them but I am not a violent person really. Some movies and games that I peruse have references to drugs (or more recently, drug use in one of them).
When you buy a movie, a book, a television show or a game, you only get to see the cover and short caption related to the plot. When you buy it, you are taking a chance that it is going to be in your tastes and hopefully that it is going to affect you in some way. Challenge your thinking and sometimes even shock you because when it does, it makes you think about things you might not have thought about from the safety of your predictable surroundings though I like predictable surroundings. So they're a thrill from the safety of your zone of predicable safety.
So as I said, I bought Saints Row 4 and Saints Row 2 on sale expecting something a little bit different and it has such a good interface for doing characters that I thought I`ll do up a character of Butterfly Dragon (in Saints Row 4) to how I envision her, and see how it goes. I managed to get her pretty close to the look that I envision but the costume needs a lot more work seeing as it is a canned suit from the game. The character's looks appear almost exactly how I envision her though aside from her clothing.
I`ve done the same in DC Universe Online (I`d do the same thing with Marvel`s games but they haven't put one out where you can design your own hero using Marvel`s system and powers).
In Saints Row 2, I created the Dragon Butterfly to how I envision her (obviously limited by the fact that it is multiple choice really, but I got it very close to her look and she really looks great in terms of design though not enough choices in clothing or tattoos).
While playing the Butterfly Dragon character in Saints Row 4, there is a questionable scene where the character actually gets involved in the "partying", which goes far beyond anything I'd envisioned for the character and the Butterfly Dragon, but this isn't the story of the Butterfly Dragon. It's the story of Saint's Row and I put a character from one of my novels into it and got some unexpected results. So the reason that I am saying this is because if anyone out there that is carrying the "weight" or aspects of the Heylyn Yates character from my book The Butterfly Dragon II: Dragon Butterfly, watch out because some people might try to put something onto you that is not a part of the character Heylyn Yates (Ai Yuanlin Ying).
She's a headstrong girl as she was growing up. She never really got into "partying" a lot because she was always so obsessed with designing and spent a lot of time training for her three black belts (in Kung Fu which I believe does not use the Kyu system of progression, Tae Kwon Do and Goju Jujitsu Ryu). The character does drink on occasion (though rarely excessively). The character does not get involved in much more than that at all.
So if anything comes your way in regard to that, keep in mind that the character, or myself do not condone excessive activities in that way. That just means, its Ok to have fun responsibly, ie don't drive if you're drinking, stay away from drugs and make sure you stay with your friends and leave together (leaving the driving to a designated driver or even better, a taxi). Heylyn rarely does "party" though she loves dancing and drugs are not a part of her being at all. So the Butterfly Dragon has nothing to do with drugs in that way. She helped Monique to get away from a path that could have landed her in a gutter. Heylyn is head strong, independent enough to make her own decisions and she usually makes good ones. After the runway fashion shows she designs for, there is often an after show party where she usually socializes with those in her business over a drink. I myself don't smoke or use narcotics at all and I drink on occasion so don`t expect those things from the character or myself.
I posted this partly as it seems that the cult spying on my computer illegally (again, I am not a criminal or a member of a gang and its conducted by a local collective in the community illegally) seem to have a pretty good idea about the people I used as a character reference for the characters of my books. So this is mostly a heads up to those Women to be on guard for the activities of this cult in relation to the characters. If you start getting stalked about activities that don't seem to coincide with the characters of the book, chances are its the cult who conduct the illegal spying at work. Their reach is quite far and devious though I'm working on getting them "caught" with their hand in the cookie jar.
As far as Dragon Butterfly goes, she too is even more rigid that Heylyn. I can`t say too much without giving away plot details. She is a ruthless killer, who will befriend someone and then quickly dispatch them to seek and ends to her ultimate goals which I will never divulge. In the Saint's Row universe, she'd never get involved in running an empire and be more likely to take them down, though its not quite so simple as that. You wouldn't be likely to meet her in an office party as much as running into her on the street. She'd just kind of show up from out of the corner of your eye.
Again this is just a testing ground to try out various designs for the characters and in case someone is carrying the weight of those characters. I never take anything that I write from a video game. Never. I write first and create the character in the book and start the book off, then after a few chapters in I might try to feel them out in a game or even a 3D program or Photoshop (from scanned hand sketches). Games are great tools for that and giving them a bit of a visual life. The game designers really put some great tools for designing the facial features and body that make a lot possible in terms of character design.
As I was getting to my point about books, movies, television shows and video games. As Forest Gump's Mother used to say: Books, movies, television shows and video games are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. When you buy it, you're taking a chance. Nobody should ever be penalized for the movies they watch, the books they read or the television or video games that they play. They're make believe. You never know what's going to happen between the beginning and the ending. You might not agree with it, but its part of the experience. I stand by that fact that they are and should be protected forms of expression. Hopefully most people will use them responsibly as such.
I honestly think that games and movies are a lot alike in that aspect and some games like graphic novels and books are designed primarily for mature gamers. In many households across the country, there are adults, couples, game parties and many other experiences that have turned it into a social endeavor. Though I'd be just as likely to curl up with Heylyn on the couch and watch a quiet movie together (in my dreams), I believe in the fact that those mediums of presentation should always be well protected. Years ago some people tried to ban Catcher In The Rye and even The Chrysalids and comic books from Libraries and Schools too. When perusing a form of media like the ones I`ve discussed, you might see something that you don`t agree with, and if it challenges you to think about that aspect of life or another point of view, then its done its job. You have to be challenged by something to consider why it is you disagree with it. Some content is not intended for younger viewers and people have to remember that with books, movies and games.
Though I enjoy the Saints Row series of games, I wouldn't like being a gangster, even if the gangster is the focal point of the movie or game. Then again, does watching The Silence Of The Lambs make you an FBI agent or a serial killer? Does it mean you agree with serial killing? Or even just killing? None of the above. It challenges you to take a trip with characters that you grow to identify with (or don't identify with at all) and then venture with them through a an adventure or trial of some form. They either survive, changed by their experience or they don't survive. In either case can it can be an enlightening experience and perhaps it is one of the most potent forms of learning by the fact that you can have such experiences without the real life risks.
None of my written characters are based upon anything to do with the video games that I play at all. I write, come up with a character in the book, then try to manifest that character in a video game so I can try to embody the characters in the game world.
So to play as a gangster does not mean to agree with them anymore than it means to watch Silence Of The Lambs is to agree with serial killing. Now someone is going to bring up the show Dexter.
I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is http://poetryandfiction.blogspot.ca.